Today we are starting our big venture to the Far North. Of course we will be taking the journey in small chunks and visiting friends on the way - Denny and Cheryl, Mary and Alan, Tom, Adair and John, Pauline and Barry, hopefully Helen and Alan, Lynne and Brent, Melita and Richie.
However we are avoiding Taranaki - not because we don't want to go there, but because we so much love being there, that both times we have started out on a trip to the Far North in the past, we have not got past Tongaporutu ...
So it's up the middle of the island for us this time and we are coming home via Taranaki - Xmas with my lovely sister and her family in Waitara. I am on sticky toffee pudding and a suitable vegetarian dish. And, as Dee informed me, I must bring cheese tart ingredients - and why didn't I think of that, I responded ...
So the treacle and other dark sugars have been packed in the motorhome pantry, and there's some shopping to do closer to the time. I think I may make a nut roast and mushroom gravy. Note to self: pack the little whizz thing.
Heading back through Taranaki means we will be able to see Jim and Judy - Judy has been flown back to Taranaki Base Hospital and is doing well. She is a strong and courageous woman and very determined to recover fully. And she will! She has had four operations over two weeks - the general anaesthetics certainly take their toll and therefore take time to recover from, and any time surgeons are delving inside our bodies there are insults (technical term, honest) to be recovered from. But Jim reports she is doing well and the rehab doctor is very happy with her progress and attitude: no surprises there then!
It is lovely being here in Parkwood - Janet and Susan, our neighbours, have volunteered to water the gardens, bring in the mail, put out the rubbish while we are away. The sense of community is wonderful. We took our portable raised garden containers to Peter yesterday so he can pick and come again with the lettuces, silverbeet (chard) and spinach plants and there will be plenty of growth left in them when we get home. The garden will go nuts while we are away so it'll be interesting to see the progress it makes!
All of the roundabouts here are planted and the plantings are regularly changed. The largest roundabout was filled with poppies: white, red, yellow, orange; and they were due for removal early this week. Residents are welcome to dig up and take away any they wanted, so I took several (not orange though - not my favourite flower colour) and replanted them - they were still flowering and still had buds - and seedheads. So hopefully there will be lots more poppies doing their thing next season too!
|We have a frog in our pond! Yay!!|
|We have apples on the tree that Shona planted less than a month ago!|
|And there are peaches there on this one!!|
I insisted David come out for a walk the other evening as he'd been working all day, needed to continue but his brain had reached overload. A lovely walk around Parkwood helped.
|Not our garden or waterfall.|
|Not our pond, by the way ... The surroundings here are beautiful.|
I asked Olek for photos of his room in the student accommodation at Heriot Watt University. I was delighted to see his connections to Aotearoa NZ are strong:
|The photos on the bottom right of his noticeboard are of Kirsty holding him when he was a baby and of all the people at his 6th (and Karol's 1st) birthday party in Opunake. And of course, the Hurricanes poster and ABs flag...|
Okay, it's time I got up and finished the packing and prep for heading away. We are intending to be home before New Year as we have an arrangement to not see in the New Year with Robert and Glenn who came for a very casual and fun dinner last night: salmon and lemon butter pies from a local bakery with salads left over from a dinner party we had the night before. We wouldn't go away without seeing R&G...
Being away for over 6 weeks requires judicious packing of enough clothing to not get bored with the same t-shirts every day, some warm layers in case it's cold, not the entire contents of the freezer (but yes to all the bread I've baked), and the bikes loaded on the back.
I will be blogging regularly about this trip, so you have been warned! We are going to ask 2IJ for the places they saw and would recommend - may as well use their expertise and experience, don't you think?